Coach Pagano has made mention of bingo night in his post game speeches, noting the production from the elder statesmen on the team. Hasselbeck as we all know has been amazing, I for one did not expect this kind of production from a 40 year old QB, who really looked ...done....in the pre season. It is well documented how his health was in his first go-round filling in for Luck, how he sucked it up and led the team to a win, he has played very well in all 4 games, we are 4-0 in those games, but vs the bucs, he was outstanding (26-42-315-2 TD's) and the most important stat-0 interceptions! Adam has been outstanding as well, now on a 16 in a row streak! Mathis has been the most consistent pass rusher, which really isn't saying much.
Offense: The production was way too one sided, the bucs have one of the better run defenses, but Gore and Bradshaw combined for 23-30-ouch! Bradshaw is now out (again) for the year, talk about bad luck, he just cannot stay healthy, he always brings a lot to the table when he has been healthy and will be missed. Hasselbeck as mentioned played a great game and seemed like the passing game was more aggressive, with more down the field throws, the dink and dunk game plan works, it is the offense brady and new england has primarily used most of his career, it has worked when Hasselbeck has played and I am sure that will continue, when Luck returns. Moncrief (8-114) led the way and has had a great season, Hilton added 6-95-2 TD's, Hasselback also does a great job of spreading the ball around and getting everyone involved. The patchwork O-line struggled, as expected, but that has been a year long issue, regardless of who has been in the lineup. Good starting his first NFL game, had his share of hiccups , but the Colts liked what they saw and think he has a bright future. The tight ends have become more involved since Chud took over, but still need to be featured more.
Defense: very good overall effort....344 total yards vs a team that just came off a huge offensive output. The linebacker play has been solid all year, the past few games has also been lights out. Jackson led the way with 11 tackles and a sack and is really playing at a high level, Freeman has stepped up his game and looks more like the player he was a few years ago, more consistent, making more plays, Walden added 2 sacks and backup Irving added another. One of the biggest issues has been the lack of a pass rush, the best performance this year, with consistent pressure and finishing with 5 sacks-Cole even had a sack-wow!! Lowery had another quality game, including an interception and Geathers has really played well, filling in for Adams, as many predicted, he is star waiting to happen. Grigson has taken a beating for some of his decisions and rightfully so, but it has to be noted as well....adding Adams-Lowery-Jackson and Langford,along with drafting Anderson-Parry-Geathers and Smith have all paid off. Just like the team-overall, what he lacks is consistency, every year, has to be a good year and avoid those critical decisions, that takes the team....backwards.
Special teams: Adam was 4-4 on field goals, not sure what to say that hasn't t been said about the level McAfee has been playing the past few years, but he is DOMINANT!! coverage units-very good, Bray-adequate.
A prime time game this week vs the steelers, before finishing the year vs 4 teams that should result in wins. Taking the half full approach, getting a big win this week will be a challenge, but an 8 game win streak to finish out the year would sure change some people's perspective on a lot of things, getting Luck back and heading into the postseason on a big time roll....it could be worse.